Despite OSHA regulations and New York Labor Law safety requirements, welding stations are often not adequately ventilated, and proper personal protective gear is not always provided. If you suffered injuries — or lost a loved one — in a welding accident due to a third party’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
Welding operations are some of the most dangerous activities on construction sites. Welders work with extreme heat sources to fuse various large parts together — sometimes carrying out their tasks at great heights. Unfortunately, even the most cautious workers can be injured because of the inherent hazards associated with welding, which can include faulty equipment, lack of ventilation, or improper safety gear.
Common Types of Welding Injuries
Welders on construction sites face numerous hazards on a daily basis. Not only do they work with iron rods that can reach extreme levels of heat, but they are regularly exposed to dangerous chemicals and toxic fumes. If welders are not provided with appropriate safety gear, or the environment in which they work is not well-ventilated, they can sustain serious injuries or even fatality.
Since they work with different tools, the injuries sustained by welders are often distinct from those commonly incurred by other construction workers. Injuries suffered by welders on construction sites can include:
- Electric shock — Welders can experience electric shock when two metal objects that have a voltage between them touch. Failure to use proper grounding equipment can cause these shocks to enter a welder’s body and cause first and second-degree burns.
- Lung damage — During the welding process, toxic fumes emit chemicals such as lead, manganese, aluminum, arsenic, and carbon monoxide. Exposure can lead to lung injuries, respiratory conditions, and other occupational illnesses.
- Hearing loss — Ear protection should be worn at all times while welding. In the event that hot slag flies into a welder’s ear, ear infections, tinnitus, and hearing loss can result.
- Skin burns — Burns are some of the most common injuries experienced by welders. While some burns are minor and occur due to the nature of the job, exposure to molten metals, welding sparks, and hot equipment can increase the risk of getting severely hurt.
- Welder’s flash — Also known as “arc-eye,” this condition happens when the cornea becomes inflamed as a result of ultraviolet radiation from the arc during the process of welding. Although the cornea may repair itself in a few days, an infection can start if the burn is not treated, leading to vision loss.
- Welder’s Parkinson’s disease — Research has found that exposure to the chemical manganese from welding fumes can cause neurological problems and Parkinson’s-like symptoms.
- Crush injuries — Crush injuries can occur on construction sites due to machine malfunctions, structural collapses, and falling equipment. They can result in permanent disability, disfigurement, nerve damage, and amputation.
While there are many causes of welding accident injuries, most of them can be prevented by ensuring that adequate safety measures are in place, proper personal protective equipment is provided, and work areas are well ventilated.
Suing for Construction Site Welding Injuries
A welder cannot sue their employer if they were injured on the job, due to New York’s Workers’ Compensation laws. However, a third party may be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit for welding injuries that occurred in an accident on a construction site.
For instance, if an injury was caused due to overexposure to manganese, a claim might be made against the welding rod manufacturer. If the accident resulted from an unsafe worksite, a contractor or property owner might be responsible. Based on the facts of the accident, other parties who could potentially be named in a lawsuit include subcontractors, architects, engineers, and equipment companies.
Welders who have been hurt at work may be eligible to recover their unreimbursed medical expenses, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses by filing a personal injury action. Significantly, they may also be able to recover monetary compensation for the pain and suffering they experienced because of their welding injuries. In addition, a family who lost a loved one in a welding accident may be able to pursue a wrongful death action.
Contact an Experienced New York Welding Accident Attorney
If you’re a welder who was hurt on the job due to the negligence of a third party, you may be eligible to recover your economic and non-economic damages through a personal injury action. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has been advocating for the rights of injured workers for more than 30 years. They have an established history of obtaining favorable results in their clients’ cases.
The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a consultation.